Betty Peachey, the founder and former owner of the Coldwater Café & Catering Inc., filed a lawsuit Feb. 16 in Miami County Common Pleas Court against her son and current owner, Nicholas Hoover, and Coldwater Café & Catering.
In the suit, Peachey claims that Hoover has breached a 2011 oral agreement finalizing the sale of the business to him in exchange for a $40,000 a year payment for the rest of her life.
Peachy, who started the business downtown in 1994, claims that it was her “creativity, outgoing personality, dedication and hard work” that led the restaurant to “become one of the most popular and successful restaurants in the Miami Valley.”
She said she hired her son to first work in the kitchen and then sent him to culinary school so he could become the restaurant’s executive chef.
The lawsuit states she was the sole owner of the business and its voting and nonvoting stock before entering an option to purchase agreement with Hoover in 2002. By 2009, Hoover had purchased half of the shares but none of the voting shares leaving her with control of the business.
In 2011, as she looked toward retirement, Peachey claims she agreed to transfer the remaining shares to her son “in consideration of Hoover’s alleged promise to pay Peachey a retirement of $40,000 a year for the remainder of her life.” The suit claims the shares were sold “at a significantly discounted price.”
The suit claims the restaurant began making the payments as agreed while Peachey remained at the restaurant greeting guests and helping decorate. She claims, however, that on March 13, 2014, “to the shock and dismay of Peachey” she was told by her son he no longer wanted her at the restaurant.
The payments continued, the lawsuit claims, until Aug. 20, 2015, when Hoover allegedly told Peachey “he was going to stop paying her retirement and failed and refused to make any further payments.”
The suit states Peachey would not have allowed Hoover to gain ownership had she known the oral agreement would not be followed.
The lawsuit accuses Hoover and the Coldwater corporation of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.
The suit claims Peachey “has been harmed by losing her beloved business and primary source of income.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages exceeding $25,000; punitive damages; attorney fees and costs. The lawsuit lists Hoover’s address as Tipp City and Peachey’s as Mesa, Ariz. While the suit said, she lives in Rockport, Texas.
A jury trial is requested. The lawsuit was assigned to Judge Jeannine Pratt.